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Multi-Pot Recipes: Cooking In Two Layers, Shredded BBQ Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

I’ve been using my multi-pot electric pressure cooker a lot. I’ve been making my standard pressure cooker recipes, including a delicious pot roast  (recipe here – although I’ve been using  whiskey instead of wine and really liking the flavor)

My multi-pot came with both a steamer tray and a steam basket. The former is so you can steam instead of boil your food and the latter so  you can cook two items at once. On a busy day, I may not cook fancy, but with a pressure cooker  you can put together a quick flavorful meal in a few minutes.

I thought it was time to give the steamer basket a try.

First up – the steamer tray. The one that came with the multi-pot is basically a wire rack. The one from my stove-top pressure cooker is a flat tray.

I wondered if it would fit and sure enough it did. So I started with that one, since I was more familiar with it. What I love about the steamer tray is you can infuse whatever you’re cooking with lots of flavor by placing a spice packet (I use unbleached coffee filters and string) under the tray, add just enough water to cover the tray and cook as usual.  Super flavorful when pressure cooked.

I made Chicken in BBQ sauce and mashed potatoes:

Shredded BBQ Chicken

  • 3 small boneless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper
  • red wine vinegar
  • water
  • spice packet: rosemary, sage, garlic, oregano – crushed together and tied into a flat spice packet to fit under the tray

Lightly salt and pepper chicken breasts. In the multi-pot add enough liquid (1/2 water and 1/2 red wine vinegar) to barely cover the tray. Add spice packet, steaming tray and then chicken breasts.

Now it’s time to add the potatoes in the steaming basket.

Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 potatoes (I like yukon gold, but any will do), washed and cut into eight pieces each)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the steam basket into the multi-pot and add potatoes.

Now it’s time to attach the lid and cook according to directions – use the time for the longest cooking item, in this case the chicken (15 minutes vs. 10 minutes for the potatoes).

Once the cooker has depressurized, add potatoes to a large bowl to mash, heat milk and butter in microwave until butter is melted and add to potatoes. Mash and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm.

For the chicken, remove from the pressure cooker to a plate. Remove spice packet and liquid (I save the liquid and freeze for soup base). Shred chicken (I use two forks, pulling in opposite directions) and then add back into the multi-pot along with BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays – sweet & spicy – is my favorite) and turn the multi-pot to WARM. Let simmer until everything is heated through (a couple of minutes).

Serve with steamed buttered green beans for a quick evening meal.  It’s not fancy, but it’s also not fast food. 😉

This technique can be used with many items – instead of BBQ you can skip the vinegar when cooking and then use the liquid, along with milk, butter and flour to make a quick gravy after the chicken has steamed. Shred the chicken, add to the gravy and serve over potatoes.

Use this two-tier technique with pot roast, ribs, pork roast… etc.

I think I’m going to try lemon juice, chicken and rice for my next concoction.

Note on steamer tray – I made my first batch of mashed potatoes without it and the potatoes were watery. The next batch I switched to the steamer tray and they were smooth and creamy. Lesson: steam whenever you can instead of boil.

For all the Multi-Pot recipes, bookmark this link.

Next Multi-Pot recipe will be Sesame Chicken. Until then…



 

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Multi-Pot Recipes: Beef and Barley Soup

Yummy photo by the great JeffreyW

I have used my Multi-Pot consistently for the last few weeks. I made two batches of soup, pulled pork, pasta sauce and two batches of rice. The first batch of rice I was all cocky and used the simple pressure cooker setting and my own time – because you know, I’m the Queen of Pressure Cooking – well, that didn’t turn out very well. I mean, it was great sticky rice, but I was going for light and fluffy. So the next batch I used the Rice Button! I mean, come on, a pot you can just push RICE and 10 minutes later have fluffy rice – why was I fighting it??

The buttons on this brand are easy and intuitive to use. It does help that I’m familiar with what times work well with my stove top cooker and there are good resources in the booklets that came with the machine to help pick timing.

My first batch of soup was to make Beef with Barley Soup:

I used this recipe (click here). I was excited to try out the browning feature and the pressure cooking setting.

I quickly and easily sauteed the onions and browned the beef with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Then added the remainder of the ingredients, sealed it shut and turned it to the Meat/Stew setting and set it for 30 minutes.

It took it 10 minutes to come to pressure – which didn’t surprise me because I filled it to the highest mark allowed.

The soup was delicious – I could easily leave it on warm, open the lid and let sit and fill the house with yummy soup smells as long as I desired.  It was good and tasty. And clean up was a breeze – just tossed the insert into the dishwasher.

The one part of this electric pressure cooker that has been a learning curve for me is the quick -release method. I am so used to taking the pot over to the sink and running cold water over the top. With this, they say to just turn the pressure valve to open. Which sounds easy-peasy.  EXCEPT it spews greasy, starchy steam all over my kitchen cabinets.

The solution is fairly simple – I grabbed an old kitchen towel and cover the valve with that as it releases. Takes a bit longer, but no mess and no risk of a scary steam burn.

So for this recipe, I’d give the Multi-Pot a solid A.

I know, I know I promised a puppy update…give me a few minutes. Until then…



 

Tired of Winter Cooking: Some Fresh Ideas

I’m so very tired of winter cooking. Stews, soups (ok, I’m never really tired of soup), roasted meats and veggies. Time to freshen things up.

But with what? The produce section is often disappointing with flavorless items that haven’t seen the light of day. But there are some bright spots and with those I can wave away the winter cooking blues.

First up: Peppers and onions.

This is the time of year when you can find a variety of sweet peppers in all kinds of colors at a pretty reasonable price. My recipes are usually fairly simple. Heat up olive oil, add thinly sliced onions and peppers, season with a dash of salt and pepper. Sauté until they soften and onion are golden. Remove from heat and now you can cook up any number of things: chicken marinated in lemon juice and pepper, thin beef strips marinated in teriyaki and ponzu sauce, pork medallions marinated in apple juice and a bit of apple cider vinegar. The ideas are endless. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, butter noodles, quinoa…

Or how about Fajitas? That recipe is here.

Next up: Fresh salads.

I found a nice jicama one day and realized I hadn’t made a batch of Jicama Slaw since last summer.  A big bowl of that in the refrigerator to munch on all week really lifted the flavor blahs. You can find the recipe here.

Two other summer favorites that are easy to make mid-winter: Potato Salads (recipes here) and Coleslaw (recipe here).

How about fruits?

Now is the time for Strawberries (recipes here and here)

Blood Oranges (recipes here)

 

And Grapes – one of my favorite grape recipes is Grapes and Sausagesrecipe here.

That should be enough help you get through a few more weeks of winter while dreaming of the fresh vegetables soon to come from gardens and farm stands.

There will be a puppeh update today or tomorrow. Until then…

Glazed Meatloaf

JeffreyW linked to this recipe originally. When I went to make it, I adapted it to what I had on hand.

Glazed Meatloaf

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 stalk celery, rough chopped
  • 1 small carrot, rough chopped
  • 1/2 onion, rough chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 lb 80/20 ground beef
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage (pork or ground beef can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper

Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a skillet, melt butter and saute celery, carrots, onion and garlic until soft. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a blender, add crushed tomatoes, soy sauce and chopped vegetables. Blend until smooth.

In a bowl, combine oats, beef, sausage, vegetable mixture, spices and eggs, and mix until well combined. You’re probably going to have to use your hands to get it done properly. I don’t have an issue with that, but if you do, kitchen latex-free disposable gloves are a lifesaver (I use them for chopping chiles and such).

You want this to be somewhat firm, but it’s not going to stand up on its own (that would lead to dry meatloaf)

Cover a baking sheet with foil and then top with a sheet of parchment paper. In a loaf pan, form the loaf, tap it on the counter to remove any air pockets. Refrigerate until oven preheats to 350 degrees F. Next put the parchment paper over the top, then place the baking sheet over the top and invert everything. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and gently remove the loaf pan.  It helps to use a thin spatula. Put the meatloaf back in the oven and bake uncovered until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. About 40 minutes.

While it’s baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly until it has thickened.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven, turn heat up to 450 degrees F, baste the meatloaf with the glaze, return to the oven and bake for 3 minutes, glaze again, bake for an additional 3 minutes. Then a third time and remove from the oven when the glaze is bubbly and brown.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes so that you can cut it evenly.

The vegetable mixture really gives this meatloaf a silky texture and it is full of flavor.

I think serving it with mashed potatoes should be mandatory. YMMV.



 

Creamy Roasted Poblano Soup

Creamy Roasted Poblano Soup

  • 4-5 poblano peppers – roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water (I used water)
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • salt and pepper
  • limejuice
  • cilantro
  • shredded sharp cheddar or Crema Mexicana

This is so easy. I had frozen, roasted poblano chiles, so all I had to do was thaw, skin and seed them. But if you have fresh chiles, heat them under the broiler for 5 minutes (watch carefully and turn as needed) until the skins are blackened on all sides. Cool and then slip off the skins. Slice open and use the knife to remove seeds and ribs (usually just be scraping with the knife). Rough chop.

In a saucepan, heat butter and add chopped onions. Saute until they are translucent, add chopped garlic and heat through before adding the chiles. Stir for a moment until everything is coated in butter. Remove from heat and add to blender, along with water or stock. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Add back to saucepan, along with milk, and bring to a very low boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Just before serving add the juice of 1/2 lime (more to taste). Garnish each bowl with cilantro and cheese.

Serves 4

 

 

Christmas Cookie Exchange: A Few Holiday Favorites

Sunday is my annual cookie baking day with friends. Most of goodies are going into gift boxes, but I’ll hold enough back for my annual Christmas Eve dinner. This is the usual round-up.

Pictured above:

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe here

Spritz Cookies, recipes and instructions for using a cookie press here.

Pecan Cookies, recipe below.  Much more below the fold.

But wait, there’s more! Click to read

Thanksgiving Files: Spatchcock Turkey Is the Way To Go

Spatchcock Turkey finish

This is the only way I’ve been preparing turkey since my first attempt. The only thing I changed up from that first time I prepared it, I skip the metal rack and instead place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor needs the boost the roasting veggies add.

From 2015:

Sometimes the scariest part of the Thanksgiving Dinner is the worry that the turkey will not turn out properly – undercooked, overcooked, dry, flavorless – and ruin the whole meal. I’ve cooked in bags, roasted, braised, fried, deboned – about everything but brine. I’m not a fan of brining. And still every year I worry.

This year I decided to try removing the backbone and flattening the bird, cooking it at a high temperature for a shorter cooking time. It seemed like it was pretty foolproof and stress free and the bird turned out great.

BTW, my recommendation is to always get two smaller birds instead of one massive bird – you’ll have a much better outcome with shorter cooking times. Not to mention not having to worry about fitting a huge bird in the oven. We usually do an oven bird, then grill, smoke or fry another.

For this recipe, a good set of poultry shears makes quick work of removing the backbone. I prepped the bird yesterday, wrapped it up and refrigerated it. This gave me time to make a nice broth from the backbone, giblets and neck last night (see notes below) and make the cranberry sauce, because it’s always better the next day.

Spatchcock Turkey Prep

Roasted Spatchcock Turkey

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 whole turkey (10-12 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Rimmed baking sheet, rack

In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, crush together pepper, salt, sage and rosemary and add to brown sugar. Set aside.

With a sharp knife or scissors, remove the back bone of the turkey, flip over and press down on the breast bone to break and flatten. I wasn’t quite strong enough, so I turned the bird over, scored the bone, flipped it back and tried again, this time it broke easily. I then trimmed off the wing tips. See my notes below on what to do with the back and wing tips.

Place the bird flat, breast side up, on the rack in the baking sheet. Rub with spice mix and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Before cooking drizzle olive oil over turkey and roast for 1 hour or until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes (during this time the bird temperature will reach 165 degrees and thighs should be 175 degrees).

Carve and serve.

NOTES: I took the back, wing tips, neck and giblets, covered them with water and simmered them for about an hour. I then used the broth for both the stuffing and gravy. I also cooked the stuffing in the oven, in a baking dish, uncovered, with the turkey. They finished up about the same time.

The next time I make this, I would forego the metal rack and instead use a roasting pan and place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor could use the boost. I do feel this is a great technique for wood grilling or smoking.

More Recipes: We have a bunch, a peck, a bushel, of Thanksgiving recipes, including my favorite Upside-Down Cranberry Cake (here), No Boil Mashed Potatoes (here), and Non-Traditional Sides (here), click on this link for all the other recipes or search by name or ingredient in the search box at the bottom of the blog.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!  – TaMara

cropped-cute-thanksgiving-wallpaper.jpg

Thanksgiving Files: Blueberry Pie A Must

This was my very first (!) pie attempt.

Blueberry pie is a must at my house for Thanksgiving. This recipe is my go-to. The key is to add fresh blueberries to the cooked blueberries for the most blueberry flavor.  From 2012:

Blueberry Pie

Filling:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on your sweetness preference, I used 1/2 cup)
  • 2-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen (and thawed) blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

In a saucepan, add sugar, cornstarch, water and 1 cup blueberries. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, add 3 cups of blueberries, lemon juice and lemon zest, fold in completely. Cool in refrigerator until time to put the pie together. I also chilled the bowl I mixed everything in, as well.

Crust:

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, very cold
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Cut butter into small pieces (I actually cut frozen butter, it was easier) and place in the freezer to chill it completely. Whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until it is crumbly. Drizzle in the water and mix together until it forms a loose ball (do not over mix, you want visible butter pieces). Turn out onto a floured surface, knead gently, divide into two equal pieces (I weighed them), form each into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour. While I was at it, I refrigerated my marble rolling pin and marble pastry board.

To assemble pie: roll out one of the balls until it’s about 12-13 inches (depending on your pie plate size) and about 3/16” thick. To move to your pie plate, flour your rolling pin again and fold the dough over it, transfer to the plate and it should fall into place. Gently form it to the plate and let excess dough overhang the edge – you can brush the edge with water before adding the top pastry. With all the butter, this step really isn’t necessary, it quickly seals itself. Add blueberry filling. Roll out second ball to the same size and thickness. Move to the plate and adjust over the pie plate. Now you can trim the excess dough, or you can tuck it under and then pinch to flute it. Next time I’m sure I’ll experience one of those, but this time, it was pretty skimpy for me to flute.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and continue until golden brown (I had to bake another 40 minutes). You’ll probably have to tent the edges with foil to keep them from burning. I did that at the 25 minute mark. Let cool until just warm to touch for the blueberries to set if you want to serve warm.



 

In This Together

As is her way, Emma has taken it upon herself to take care of Bixby and me. Here she is keeping the big guy company in the afternoon sun. Bixby still spends a lot of time looking out the window and sighing. Loudly. I wish I was kidding.

Today he began to brighten up, wanting to play non-stop with Bad Horse, so we are making progress.

Lots of cooking going on here. Bad Horse has felt like taking on some new recipes. This one was a winner:

It’s a Pear Crisp. Using the Perfect Apple Crisp recipe, found here, and substituting pears for the apples. It also uses gluten free flour quite successfully in the crisp.

We had an abundance of pears because my local grocer is selling “misfit” fruits and veggies – or what I like to call, “ugly fruit and veggies”. They are misshapen, bruised or otherwise not “A” quality. But I will let you in on a little secret, most of them are much  tastier. Especially the lemons – thin skinned and full of juice – which makes them bruise easily. Ugly, but yummy.

That’s it for now…I’ll try to get back to regular blogging soon. Until then…


 


Fall Menus: Another October Week

Another week has flown by. This week’s menus include some of my favorites.

Monday, Cream of Potato Cheese Soup, always perfect on a chilly fall day.

 

Potato Soup Photo by JeffreyW

Wednesday features Pan-Fried Catfish and Buttered Potatoes. You can find all the menus here: October Menus 2

Thursday is a German Pocket Burgers and Apple Strudel.  And Friday will have the kids licking their fingers with Buffalo Chicken Legs, a healthy alternative to deep fried buffalo chicken.

Complete shopping lists are here: October Weekly Shopping List 2   A reminder that the menus and shopping lists are color coordinated. You can easily disregard any item you won’t need.

JeffW’s awesome biscuit photo.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Garlic Biscuits Which you can find here.(perfect with potato cheese soup).

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend! – TaMara